Women’s Philanthropy, By the Numbers

By Kathleen E. Loehr

Women are the fastest-growing philanthropic group. They have wealth, influence and a commitment to change. They are where the dollars and decision-making power are now and will be for some time.

Women are driving change in business and the home. A few facts:

  • Women hold 51 percent of managerial and professional jobs in the workplace.
  • Women are 42 percent of the top wealth holders in the United States.
  • Women are the fastest-growing segment of wealthy individuals; in the past decade, the number of women earning more than $100,000 tripled.
  • Women are more likely to give a higher amount to 10 out of 11 charitable subsectors, with the exception of the sports/recreation subsector.
  • For every $10,000 that the wife’s income increases, total household giving increases by more than 5 percent. In comparison, for every $10,000 the husband’s income increases, total household giving increases by 3 percent.

Ultimately, women give significantly more than similarly situated men at almost all income levels.

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It is time to put a spotlight on our current fundraising behaviors, discern their effectiveness when applied to women and consciously choose ways to adapt our approach as needed. To do that:

  • Dive into your data to understand how women currently support your institution.
  • Interview your women stakeholders. Asking a woman one-on-one about her experiences in philanthropy will provide you with rich, qualitative answers not gathered in larger groups or surveys.
  • Look at your current fundraising behaviors. What might be in your collective best practices that gets in the way of growing support from women? Where might you have blinders on?
  • Review the discovery inputs, and create a practical vision for what you want to accomplish to grow women’s influence and support for your mission.

Kathleen E. Loehr is the principal of Kathleen Loehr & Associates, a philanthropy and leadership practice. 

This piece, which originally appeared in September/October 2018 Currents, is excerpted from Gender Matters: A Guide to Growing Women’s Philanthropy, available in the CASE Store.

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